In-form Shanshan Feng is on course for a hat-trick of LPGA victories after taking the lead at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
Feng is one of nine players who have a chance of winning the Race to the CME Globe season title and the accompanying $1million bonus, and the Chinese star made the best possible start of lifting that crown in Naples.
On the back of consecutive victories in Malaysia and Japan, Feng registered a six-under par round of 66 on the opening day to forge a one-shot lead over So Yeon Ryu and Charley Hull.
“I actually feel fresh coming into this week,” said Feng.
“I’ve been playing well, so just wanted to keep up with the good playing.”
Feng has finished inside the top four in each of her last seven events and she showed that confidence on a bogey-free round which saw her birdie four of the last six holes.
Ha Na Jang, Sei Young Kim, In Gee Chun, Amy Yang, Lizette Salas, Beatriz Recari, Ryann O’Toole and Mo Martin all shot 68 to lie just adrift of Ryu and Hull.
Lydia Ko – who needs to win the event to secure the player of the year title – shot 70, while Ariya Jutanugarn and Brooke Henderson – who similarly must prevail in the tournament – both finished with level par rounds of 72.
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